Microsoft has been infamously in the news this week due to its refusal to provide Microsoft Office for iPad users. The company seems bent on forcing consumers to use the Microsoft Surface tablet collection in order to generate sales, but this strategy has not worked so far for the Redmond, Washington company.
On one hand, it is a smart move to make: “if you want to use our software, you must purchase our products.” It is no different with iOS or Android, although a large number of Android apps are being ported to Blackberry so that its users can have an enjoyable mobile experience. Apple does not supply its software onto any OS other than its own. You will never see iOS apps being ported onto Android, Windows, webOS, Mozilla FireFox, or any other. To use Apple apps, you must purchase an iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone.
This strategy has worked for Apple tremendously; it has not done as well for Microsoft. The first Microsoft Surface tablet, the Surface RT, went on sale October 26, 2012. It did not do well in its first weekend and week, and sales have been in decline ever since. This has not stopped Microsoft from releasing its Surface Pro tablets (64GB and 128GB), tablets that are expected to do better for Microsoft than its RT line — considering that Surface Pro provides the full Windows 8 experience as compared to its RT brothers.
With all of the lack of success on the part of Microsoft, you would think that the company would not be so stingy in its refusal to share its software with those on iOS or Android. So many MacBook users tend to use Microsoft Office software. As a student, I purchased Microsoft Office 2011 for my MacBook, a separate purchase that required an additional $100 or so, on top of my 2011 MacBook Pro and four-year warranty (which totaled approximately $2300). Like so many other students, I have come to rely on Microsoft Office for Powerpoint, Word, and Excel. I noticed yesterday that, after picking up my ClamCase Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Cover, I did not have a decent Word processor to download onto my iPad. While there are some processor apps, they do not provide footnotes, references, bibliography features, and so on — important aspects of the student experience.
Microsoft’s reasoning is that, if it forces the hands of customers, it will win; unfortunately, what it will do is force many individuals instead to turn to other tablets with other word processors (or stick with the Apple iPad and use other apps). Apple has decided these days to go at Microsoft with its 128GB, fourth-generation iPad. Still, it must be said that Steve Jobs did promote the “post PC” era — and that, coupled with the fierce competition between Microsoft and Apple, may explain Microsoft’s desire to keep its premier products under the Microsoft name and shelter. At some point, when the money is in decline and Microsoft realizes the amount it’s losing to stubbornness, Redmond will give in to Cupertino. Just you wait and see.